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Friday, July 19, 2024 | Back issues
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CIA Sued for Official|History of Bay of Pigs

WASHINGTON (CN) - The National Security Archive demands that the CIA deliver a copy of the agency's official report of the 1961 Bay of Pigs fiasco. The CIA took 9 years to write the 5-volume report, which is "the last and only major internal study that remains secret - fifty years after the invasion at the Bay of Pigs," according to the complaint.

Here is an excerpt from the 6-page FOIA complaint:

"The historical documents sought by plaintiff address the ill-fated CIA-led invasion at the Bay of Pigs. Invasion planning began with an authorization signed by President Eisenhower on March 17, 1960, for a $4.4 million paramilitary training, infiltration and assault program designed to 'bring about the replacement of the Castro regime with one more devoted to the true interests of the Cuban people and more acceptable to the U.S. in such a manner as to avoid any appearance of U.S. intervention.' Over the course of a year of preparation, the plan evolved into a full-scale paramilitary assault of some 1,500 Cuban exiles, trained in CIA camps in Guatemala, and organized into a force called the 2506 Brigade. Between March 11, 1961, when CIA officials presented President Kennedy the invasion plan, and April 14, 1961, when he gave them the green light for a preliminary airstrike intended to destroy the Cuban airforce, Kennedy modified its parameters to make it 'less noisy' and more covert. The actual deployment of Brigade 2506 began on April 17, 1961. Within 72 hours, Castro's air force had sunk the ammunition and food resupply ship, and the Cuban army and militia had captured most of the brigade force.

"On August 8, 1973, CIA Director William Colby tasked the Agency's History Staff to 'develop accurate accounts of certain of CIA's past activities in terms suitable for inclusion in government-wide historical and declassification programs, while protecting intelligence sources and methods.' As a member of the CIA History Staff, Jack B. Pfeiffer assumed responsibility for compiling the history of the Bay of Pigs operation. His report was written over the course of nine years between 1974 and 1983, three years of which time Pfeiffer served as Chief Historian; it is based on dozens of interviews with key operatives and officials and a review of hundreds of CIA documents. Pfeiffer's internal study is divided into five volumes: Vol. 1, Air Operations; Vol. II, Participation in the Conduct of Foreign Policy; Vol. III, Evolution of CIA's Anti-Castro Policies, 1951-January 1961; Vol. IV, Taylor Committee Report, and Vol. V, Internal Investigation Report. Since his report is named the Official History of the Bay of Pigs Operation, it is, by definition, the most important and substantive CIA-produced study of this episode.

"All other major internal investigative reports and studies, including the CIA Inspector General's 'Survey of the Cuban Operation' and the lengthy report to President Kennedy of the inquiry led by General Maxwell Taylor, known as the 'Taylor Committee Report,' have been declassified for years. Indeed, Vol. III of the Pfeiffer report was declassified by the CIA in 1998 under the Kennedy Assassination Records Act. The rest of the Pfeiffer report is now the last and only major internal study that remains secret - fifty years after the invasion at the Bay of Pigs."

The National Security Archive says the CIA has blown off its request for 5½ years.

It wants to see the documents. It is represented by David Sobel.

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